Song review: "Billy Balloon Head" by Massive Wagons
By Bec Simpson
A five-piece heavy rock band from Carnforth, UK, Massive Wagons have been going in on some form or other since way back in 2009.
The band describe themselves as “no gimmicks, silly haircuts, stupid clothes or ridiculous claims – just straight up, in your face heavy rock 'n' roll.” Considering they were named after the nickname of a local barmaid, one might dispute the ‘no gimmicks’ claim, but we’ll let them have it – it’s definitely all very rock ‘n’ roll.
Influenced by the likes of old time classic acts such as Motorhead, AC/DC, Slade and Status Quo, as well as newer heavy rockers Black Stone Cherry and Airbourne, you can already easily imagine what to expect.
The band spent a solid three years cutting their teeth on the local underground rock scene, recording and self-releasing a five track EP, Sniff The Riff, and playing gigs up and down the UK. Attracting the attention of independent label Casket Records, they released a rare-print, full-length called Fire It Up in 2012 before their continuous gigging landed them a multi-album contract with Off Yer Rocka. It was with Off Yer Rocka that they released their second album, Fight The System (2014), live/rarities album, The Good The Bad And The Ugly (2015), and third full length, Welcome To The World, in 2016. It was the latter that got the band the recognition they deserved, and they embarked on their first headline O2 Academy tour of the UK. They also played a bunch of festival dates and supported The Wildhearts on a further UK tour.
Now, Massive Wagons are ready to release their next highly anticipated studio album, Full Nelson, which will be out on Earache Records August 10th,. They have already released two singles off the record: “China Plates” and, more recently, “Billy Balloon Head.”
The former was a look at the rise of social media in current society, and the growing compulsion to share every aspect of our lives online. The latter is a potshot at the worrying culture of intolerance, ignorance and racism, which seems to have grown in recent times.
"I really have no idea if the term 'balloon head' is one used anywhere else in the world but where I'm from," said frontman Baz Mills of the title. "Maybe it is, I don't know - but if you're a balloon head, then as far as I'm concerned, you're the sort of person with nothing much in the way of being nice, being tolerant, being open-minded, or having much going on upstairs full-stop. The song's a stab at racists and ignorant people."
Unbelievably catchy, “Billy Balloon Head” will get stuck in your head after a single listen; the feel-good melody and chorus will stay with you and ensure you’ll be humming it all day. It’s got soul, it’s got attitude, and it’s spreading a positive, no-nonsense message. What more could you want from a rock band? Anthemic and uplifting, with a powerful, thick guitar sound, and a thumping rhythm section, the band’s new single provides social commentary wrapped-up in a bop of a tune, and the video that goes along with it provides a fun insight into their touring life, featuring clips of them on the road and playing shows all over the place.
Here at Unfazed, we think it’s a great little track, and are sure Massive Wagons will continue on their rise to the top. With a recent appearance at Download Festival under their belt and more gigs to come this year in support of the album, these guys are ones to watch out for.
LISTEN TO "BILLY BALLOON HEAD" BELOW: